Is It Safe to Combine Doxycycline and Dairy?

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  • Written By: Emily Daw
  • Edited By: Kaci Lane Hindman
  • Last Modified Date: 26 October 2018
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The combination of doxycycline and dairy is not inherently dangerous, but it does decrease doxycycline's effectiveness. Dairy products — milk, cheese, yogurt, and other milk-based foods — contain calcium, which interferes with the absorption of doxycycline into the bloodstream. It is recommended that patients avoid dairy products at least two hours before or after taking doxycycline. Depending on the dosage and frequency of the medication as well as the severity of the infection, the prescribing doctor may recommend not consuming dairy products at all while on doxycycline.

Doxycycline is a broad-spectrum antibiotic that can be used to treat urinary tract infections, acne, respiratory infections, and various bacterial sexually transmitted diseases. This medication works by stopping the proteins in bacteria from replicating. It is commonly prescribed because it is less expensive and has fewer side effects than other broad-spectrum antibiotics like ciprofloxacin. Unlike some antibiotics, however, it is absorbed best on an empty stomach, thus the problem of taking doxycycline and dairy together.

The decrease in effectiveness when combining doxycycline and dairy also applies to some other foods. Patients who normally take dietary supplements such as calcium, iron or a multivitamin should stop taking those while on doxycycline unless their doctor or pharmacist says otherwise. They should instead try to get these nutrients through dietary sources as much as possible during the course of treatment.


Some patients routinely eat yogurt as a probiotic while on antibiotics to maintain a healthy amount of bacteria in the body, especially in the digestive system. Doing so reduces the risk of side effects, such as upset stomach, yeast infections, or other fungal infections that are common while taking antibiotics. Since yogurt is of course a dairy product, this is not recommended while on doxycycline. Patients can instead take over-the-counter, commercially produced probiotic supplements or other non-dairy probiotic foods, such as coconut yogurt, to avoid combing doxycycline and dairy.


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Post 5

My doctor put me on Doxycycline for the next three months twice a day for Folliculitis Decalvans. She said it is fine to take dairy, vitamins, food etc with this drug. My pharmacist said no. She said it is not Tetracycline and therefore it is fine. It is commonly told by pharmacists that this is not OK. But it only applies to Tetracycline.

Post 3

@fify-- I think you should follow what your doctor has recommended. My doxycycline treatment was short so my doctor told me to avoid dairy, as well as antacids.

Most people don't realize that it's not really dairy that interacts with doxycycline, but the calcium in it. So everything that's high in calcium and iron needs to be avoided while on this antibiotic.

Some doctors are not very strict when it comes to this combination but I think that everyone's system works a little differently. Milk takes a very long time to digest. So taking doxycycline one to two hours after drinking milk might still cause an interaction. So double check with your doctor about your current medication timing.

Post 2

@donasmrs-- My doctor just put me on doxycyline for acne. He also warned me about dairy but there is no way I can avoid dairy completely because I'm going to be taking the antibiotic for a while. I'll just wait to have it after the antibiotic is completely absorbed. Right now, I'm taking doxycycline in the afternoon. I have cereal with milk for breakfast, but that's at least five hours before I take my medication, so I think it should be fine.

Post 1

I love dairy but I avoided it completely during my doxycycline treatment. My doctor told me that I can have dairy several hours after taking my medication, but I didn't want to take any risks. I was afraid that dairy will prevent the medication from working and then I would need a second round of antibiotics.

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